Storm Ciaran has triggered a rare weather phenomenon on the English Channel, baffling Brits.
The storm is set to bring a fresh bout of strong winds and heavy rain – soon after storm Babet wreaked havoc across the UK. Triggering more than two dozen yellow weather warnings and amber “danger to life” warnings.
Forecasters said gusts of 98mph could hit the Channel Islands on Wednesday. Wind speeds of up to 110mph in the middle of the English Channel, according to shipping forecasts.
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According to the Met Office, the phenomenon, known as tuba or funnel clouds, forms when a rotating column of wind draws in droplets from the base of storm clouds. It is similar to how tornadoes form. Funnel clouds only develop into a tornado once they reach Earth or a body of water, known as a waterspout. Although it is a rare occurrence, it is not the first time it has been seen in the area.
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But in some areas, bizarre weather phenomena have already been witnessed as a result of the high winds. In Deal, Kent, resident John Sheridan managed to catch it on camera. Speaking to KentOnline, he said: “It was still a funnel cloud when I first saw it, but it touched down for around a minute. It raised quite the spray – which was difficult to capture with just my phone but I just about managed it.”
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“There are possible gusts of 80 to 90 miles an hour in some exposed southern areas.” Kate Marks, from the Environment Agency, added: “We urge people to stay safe on the coast.” Experts have urged people not to go near the water’s edge due to “very dangerous conditions”. Kate Marks, flood duty manager at the Environment Agency, said “significant flooding” was possible.
We advise people to stay away from swollen rivers and urge people not to drive through flood water as just 30cm (1ft) of flowing water is enough to move your car,” she said. The Environment Agency had issued 24 flood warnings for England by 11 am on Wednesday morning, with 116 flood alerts.
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The Met Office deputy chief meteorologist Steven Keates said: “Once Storm Ciarán has passed, the weather over the weekend continues to look unsettled for many, with more showers and rain at times. Warnings will continue to be updated over the coming days, so it is important to stay up to date with the Met Office forecast and warnings in your area.”
A 'weather bomb' is an unofficial term for a low pressure system whose central pressure falls 24 millibars in 24 hours in a process known as explosive cyclogenesis.
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